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Thursday, August 25, 2016

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Disc reviews

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

JazzThe Bad Plus, “It’s Hard” (SONY/Okeh). The photography on the group’s 14th disc is certainly cool. And there’s nothing wrong with the repertoire either. Says Bad Plus drummer Dave King “after several years of focusing largely on original music, we thought it would be creatively challenging to return to... Read More

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Jazz/PopNels Cline, “Lovers” arranged and conducted by Michael Leonhardt (Blue Note, two discs). “I first thought of it in the ’80s,” says the Wilco guitarist about this amazing, idiosyncratic and crazily unpredictable album of “mood music.” “I would sit on airplanes and make lists of songs, add things, and... Read More

By Jeff Simon » Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Fred Hersch Trio “Sunday Night at the Vanguard” (Palmetto). Pianist Hersch tells us in the simple but revealing notes to this disc “I could tell from the first notes of ‘A Cockeyed Optimist’ that we were in the zone.” And so he was for this evening at the Village Vanguard, when he performed his fourth... Read More

By Jeff Simon » Thursday, August 18, 2016

John Beasley Presents Monk’estra, Volume One (Mack Avenue) John Beasley has this to say about arranging classic tunes by Thelonious Monk: “Jimmy Heath once told me that all the good stuff is already built into Monk. The tunes are built to swing ... The sign of a great composer – like Gershwin, Ellington, Wayne... Read More

By Jeff Simon » Sunday, August 7, 2016

JAZZ Peter Erskine Trio with John Taylor and Palle Danielsson “As It Was” (ECM Old and New Series, three discs). It almost goes without saying that pianist John Taylor was not on the same level as Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Brad Mehldau and Michel Petrucciani. But among the... Read More

By Jeff Miers » Saturday, August 6, 2016

What the mainstream music industry didn’t see coming, though it should’ve, was the idea that a new generation of musicians would be looking to break through arbitrary genre-specific barriers, not kowtow to them in the name of easy mass marketing. The old music biz template suggested selling hip-hop to kids, soul,... Read More

By Jeff Miers » Friday, August 5, 2016

Expatriate Buffalonian Michael Lee Jackson has been calling Los Angeles home for the better part of a decade by now, but it’s more than telling that, for his first full album of new material to see release since he left town, the guitarist/singer/songwriter looked eastward for musical companionship. “Death by... Read More

By Jeff Simon » Thursday, August 4, 2016

CLASSICAL Various Composers, Overtures to Bach performed by cellist Matt Haimovitz (Pentatone/Oxingale) Almost all cellists have personal relationships to Bach’s magnificent Six Suites for Unaccompanied Cello. Matt Haimovitz, though, had the idea to commission six contemporary composers “to engage with his music.... Read More

By Jeff Simon » Sunday, July 31, 2016

SOUTHERN ROCK The Cadillac Three, “Bury Me In My Boots (Big Machine) “Bury me in my boots and don’t forget the whiskey/ Light a cigarette girl, lean on in and kiss me/Send me on my way with some black roses/ This is the path I’ve chosen and you can’t go with me.” That’s the actual chorus of the... Read More

By Jeff Simon » Sunday, July 31, 2016

JAZZ Dan Pratt, “Hymn for the Happy Man” (Same Island). For some thoroughly unaccountable reason, Christian McBride’s Big Band seldom engages me as much as smaller groups made out of its musicians. That includes the organ-tenor groups led by Dan Pratt and now this new music tenor-piano jazz quartet led by... Read More

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